By Joseph DiFrancesco

Reviewed by Paul McAvoy

Dolan Hermes has set in motion the murders of several seemingly unlinked people--a stockbroker and real estate agent, to identify just two; their ages do not appear to matter either, but each seems to have a dark secret--an adulterer, a paedophile... One by one they are dying, murdered by a lethal dose of rat poison. The thing is though, the police have their man and so there is nothing to worry about... right? Wrong - Hermes is in the city morgue and this series of killings had been set in motion before he decided to hang himself. His suicide was captured on film for the police to find and also for Hermes to inform them of what is about to happen. At first they think of it as a sick joke, humour from a twisted dying man, but when people begin dying, they start to take notice.

Detective Ron Abernathy is your typical tough cop, devoted to the job, but a little bit cynical as he has seen it all; both the good and bad in the kind of people he has to deal with on a day to day basis. He has been assigned the case. The clichéd cop, he likes to work alone and has very few friends. He has a new partner he does not like much, but has to work with to try to solve the puzzle. Abernathy's only other friend is the prostitute Dilara--the only one he feels safe with.

After each death, a DVD is sent to the office, where Hermes gives clues as to who is going to die next. But there has to be another person involved--who is sending the DVDs when Hermes is dead?

Not Dead Enough is a fast-paced read; the writing rips along like bullets from an AK47. I read DiFrancesco's other work, Unholy Whispers, which was balls-out supernatural horror, but this is a thriller. It reminded me a lot of the Saw series, or Se7en. The author does not mess around, though, and tells his tale how it should be told. There is too much padding in literature nowadays, and at 150 plus pages, this is a quick dose of enjoyment. Joseph DiFrancesco won't win awards for this prose, but it is gut-filled and straight to the point.

Although the cover of the book could be better, Not Dead Enough is a good read, and kept me enraptured on a flight to Spain. I was worried that the clichéd 'twist' might come about--I was almost praying it would not happen, as such writings can do that, but it went along nicely and was a pleasing end to the book. The author has a great future ahead of him.

Not Dead Enough by Joseph DiFrancesco. Double Dragon Publishing paperback, 166pp, $15.99 (also available as download for $5.99). For purchase options and to read a sample go here

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